Successful heart surgeon Steven (Colin Farrell) is engaged in a bizarre relationship with sixteen-year-old Martin (Barry Keoghan) in Yorgos Lanthimos’s (Dogtooth, 2009; The Lobster, 2015) outstanding new film that pushes the director’s signature style to extremes of inky-black humour and horror.
Steven introduces Martin to his wife, Anna (Nicole Kidman), and two children. The boy ingratiates his way into their lives, and is the catalyst for a series of increasingly strange events. Similar to his earlier work, Lanthimos presents a universe that obeys its own internal logic; characters once again deliver dialogue in a deliberately flattened and artificial manner.
The narrative – about which the less known the better – hinges on possibly occult forces, and a fug of choking dread hangs over proceedings like a toxic miasma, suffocating in its escalating intensity, bolstered by a terrifying, abrasive score.
Notes by David O’Mahony
Best screenplay, Cannes Film Festival 2017
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Barry Keoghan), IFTAs, 2018